Archives June 2009

Warming up for “can Superman beat up the Hulk?”

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

The Seven-Year-Old asked me if an AT-TE walker is bigger than an Oliphaunt.

Irony as a second language

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

I’m sure that all of us, regardless of our political views on other matters, can come together and agree that it would be good if more American residents would learn to speak English.

Also, that it would be good if more American politicians would learn to spell it.

Banner for “2009 National Conferenece”

See, this is what happens when you ...

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The museum of institutional egotism

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

During my brief stay at yeshiva in Israel, we toured some of the archeological sites near Tiberias, and our guide pointed out a number of details about the Roman civil engineering from two thousand years ago. A tour guide who appreciates technology, I thought. Cool!

A few months ago, I read about the tunnel of ...

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Femme-inism

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Narratives of transsexuality aimed at a general audience, both in print and online, are a genre unto themselves, and one of the conventions of the genre is the tone, directed at cissexual (i.e. non-trans) readers, of “please understand me, because if you understand me, then you couldn’t possibly condemn me”. The refreshing thing about ...

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Unbound

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

A well-designed computer language, such as Lisp, strives to give its users “the illusion of infinite memory”: the programmer can allocate as many objects as he or she wants, and the language implementation is responsible for cleaning them up. As long as an object can be reached by the code that is running—as long as ...

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A debugging tip for weak-minded programmers (like me)

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

So if you have some script1 that was created with the time-honored “copy, paste, edit” method of abstraction, and it’s not doing what you expect, and you’re just tearing your hair out because the part that you edited is perfectly clear and works just fine when you try it from the command line all ...

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How do you say “Arrr!” in Ladino?

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Edward Kritzler’s Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean is a mediocre book about a fascinating topic.

The topic is the Jews and conversos (Jews who converted, generally under duress, to Catholicism) who, despite official bans, joined the Spanish conquest of the New World and who, when the Inquisition caught up with their relatives, helped other European ...

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Rediscovering Talmudic logic

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

[The following is based on a tikkun leil Shavuot talk that I gave at my synagogue last week.]

There is a mishnah in the tractate Nazir that I first learned from The Big Book of Jewish Humor, of all places:

excerpt from Nazir 34a. Someone sees a koy [an animal that the rabbis were not sure whether to classify ...

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